Ricky Jackson, Hillary Clinton And The Death Penalty
Last night as I was watching the Democratic Town Hall hosted by CNN, a man named Ricky Jackson took the mic. Ricky said that he spent 39 years in prison, part of it on death row, for a murder he didn’t commit. He emotionally confronted Hillary Clinton about her position on the death penalty.
The tiny bit of his story caught my interest so I looked up information about his case. Here is Ricky’s story.
Ricky Jackson is an Ohio man who, in 1975, was accused of murdering Harold Franks, a Cleveland area money order salesman. Jackson was 19-years old. Without a witness, the state had no case. Some reports say that the witness was 12-years old and other reports say that the witness was 13-years old. Edward Vernon was the reason why the state charged Ricky as the trigger-man who killed Harold Franks. Ricky was sentenced to death.
Ricky’s death sentence was vacated because of a technical error. Two others who were convicted along with Ricky were also sentenced to death. They are commonly referred to as the Bridgeman brothers and they remained on death row until 1978 when the Supreme Court declared that Ohio’s death penalty was unconstitutional. One of the Bridgman brothers came within 20 days of execution.
(Ohio reinstated its death penalty law in 1981.)
Edward Vernon, now in his 50’s, recanted his testimony. Vernon said that he confided in a pastor who encouraged him to reach out to the Innocence Project. Vernon said that he was coerced by detectives and in 2013, he filed an affidavit stating that he never saw the murder take place.
The Ohio Innocence Project took the case. In November 2014, Ricky, then 57-years old, was exonerated. Ricky, along with Bridgman, spent 39 years in prison for a crime they did not commit, making them the longest-serving exonerees in U.S. History.
In March 2015, a judge on the Ohio Court of Claims ordered a check for more than $1 million to be sent to Michele Berry of the Cincinnati Innocence Project on behalf of Ricky Jackson. It is tax-free and was deposited in an annuity account, which Attorney Berry says will be run by a financial advisor who will help Ricky receive payments and handle the money in the wisest way.
Here is Ricky Jackson asking Hillary Clinton about her position on the death penalty. Her response does not bring me satisfaction. Death is the only sentence that we impose for death. There is no other sentence that requires convicted people to suffer the crime that they committed.